Walter E. Grauman

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Walter Grauman (1922-2015) describes how he began his career in the television industry, as a co-producer (with Alan A. Armer) of the talent-search series Lights, Camera, Action. He recalls how he broke into network television, directing for producer Albert McCleery on the live anthology series Cameo Theatre, and subsequently getting hired to direct Matinee Theater. Grauman looks back on his initial enthusiasm with the first Untouchables script he read (that prompted him to take the job as a producer-director on the series) and discusses several episodes he helmed. He gives his impressions of several stars he worked with in TV, including: Charles Bronson (guesting on Colt .45), Robert Stack (The Untouchables), Peter Falk (Columbo), Buddy Ebsen (Barnaby Jones), and Natalie Wood (The Memory of Eva Ryker). Lastly, he recounts his work on the series Murder, She Wrote (and his rapport with star Angela Lansbury), the television movie The Forgotten Man (learning from military advisors how the Viet Cong operated during the Vietnam War), and the series Peter Gunn (including some advice he received from producer-director Blake Edwards on not making artistic compromises). B-roll includes Grauman displaying and commenting on several behind-the-scenes photos from his career. Stephen Bowie conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on April 17, 2009.

"Quinn Martin sent over an 'Untouchables' script written by Ben Maddow ['The Noise of Death'] that was an absolutely brilliant script. I read it three times. Never went to sleep that night. I just read it, and read it again, and read it again. Called the next morning, and I said: 'I'm yours.'"

Highlights
Director Walter Grauman on working with Angela Lansbury on Murder, She Wrote
00:33
Director Walter Grauman on how Blake Edwards (ironically) advised him not to make artistic compromises on Peter Gunn
00:59
Director Walter Grauman on Buddy Ebsen's likability (comparing him to Angela Lansbury, who he worked with on Murder, She Wrote)
00:59
Director-producer Walter Grauman on taking the job on The Untouchables, after being so impressed with the script for the episode "The Noise of Death"
01:11
Director Walter Grauman on working with boxer Primo Carnera on Matinee Theater: Frankenstein (airdate: 2/5/57), in which an overzealous and unrehearsed Carnera (playing Frankenstein's monster) threw a stuntman through the scenery
03:29
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his background; on getting hired at Universal Studios; on starting his own popcorn business; on getting his start in TV co-directing/producing the series Lights, Camera, Action; on host Walter Woolf King and "live TV" 
On being sued by Hollywood Screen Test producer Lester Lewis (Grauman misidentifies him as Lester White) for Lights, Camera, Action's similarity in concept; on breaking into directing at NBC and working on Albert McCleery's Cameo Theatre and Matinee Theater  
On several memorable touch-and-go incidents on the 1950s "live" anthology series Matinee Theater
On the Hollywood Blacklist (hiring former blacklistee Jeff Corey, discovering that "Joel Carpenter" was Arnold Manoff's pseudonym)

Chapter 2

On producer Quinn Martin; on directing for The Untouchables, which he took based on his favorable impression of the script for the episode "The Noise of Death"; on Untouchables star Robert Stack; on appeasing the censor in filming a massacre scene in The Untouchables episode "The White Slavers" 
22:49
On working out the approach to "Lt. Gerard" on The Fugitive with producer Quinn Martin; on Fugitive star David Janssen; on the Twilight Zone episode "Miniature" 
On getting hired on Barnaby Jones and working with star Buddy Ebsen; on working on location for The Streets of San Francisco; on working with Angela Lansbury on Murder, She Wrote  
On Peter Falk inventing the key clue for solving the crime on the Colombo show "Murder in Malibu"; on working with Keith Mitchell and Jerry Orbach on Murder, She Wrote

Chapter 3

On how Angela Lansbury's appeal was the reason for the popularity of Murder, She Wrote; on Natalie Wood's fear of deep/dark waters while shooting the TV movie The Memory of Eva Ryker, one of her last projects
09:44
On his experiences making the TV movie The Forgotten Man, including an eye-opening session on learning how the Viet Cong operated from military consultants
07:49
On his directorial style, especially in regard to camera movement in his work; on how Blake Edwards advised him on not making artistic compromises on Peter Gunn  
11:27
B-roll of Grauman showing several behind-the-scenes photos from his career in TV
Shows

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

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Director Walter Grauman on directing Cameo Theatre: "The Man From the South" later remade (with Steve McQueen) as the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Man from the South" [note: the star in the Cameo Theatre show was John Lupton, not Steve McQueen as Grauman recalls]
01:55

Barnaby Jones

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Director Walter Grauman on being hired by Quinn Martin for Barnaby Jones (after the two had had a previous falling out)
01:36
Director Walter Grauman on working with Buddy Ebsen on Barnaby Jones
01:01
Director Walter Grauman on Barnaby Jones star Buddy Ebsen's likability (comparing him to Angela Lansbury, who he worked with on Murder, She Wrote)
00:59

Cameo Theatre

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Walter Grauman on breaking into NBC network dramatic series directing with Cameo Theatre
01:42
Director Walter Grauman on directing Cameo Theatre: "The Man From the South" later remade (with Steve McQueen) as the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Man from the South" [note: the star in the Cameo Theatre show was John Lupton, not Steve McQueen as Grauman recalls]
01:55
Director Walter Grauman briefly on Cameo Theatre and Matinee Theater creator/producer Albert McCleery
00:30

Colt .45

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Director Walter Grauman on the indelible impression left on him by newcomer Charles Bronson during production of the Colt .45 episode "Young Gun" 
01:27

Columbo

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Director Walter Grauman on how star Peter Falk invented the key clue for solving the crime on the Columbo show "Murder in Malibu"
00:51

Forgotten Man, The

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Director Walter Grauman on learning how the Viet Cong operated from military consultants on the TV movie The Forgotten Man
03:56
Director Walter Grauman on losing his Asian extras at 4 PM, while shooting the TV movie The Forgotten Man
01:26
Director Walter Grauman relates the plot of the TV movie The Forgotten Man [SPOILERS]
01:13

Fugitive, The

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Director Walter Grauman on refilming a scene that set up the character of "Lt. Gerard" on The Fugitive per producer Quinn Martin, to make the character seem less obsessed 
01:37
Director Walter Grauman on The Fugitive star David Janssen
00:41

Hollywood Screen Test

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Lights, Camera, Action producer-director Walter Grauman on being sued by Hollywood Screen Test producer Lester Lewis (Grauman misidentifies him as Lester White) for similarity in the two show's concepts
01:51

Lights, Camera, Action!

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Walter Grauman on getting into TV, co- writing, directing, and producing the talent show Lights, Camera, Action
01:26
Producer-director Walter Grauman on the flubs made by Lights, Camera, Action (1950) emcee Walter Woolf King on "live" TV 
01:31
Lights, Camera, Action producer-director Walter Grauman on being sued by Hollywood Screen Test producer Lester Lewis (Grauman misidentifies him as Lester White) for similarity in the two show's concepts
01:51
Producer-director Walter Grauman on the format of Lights, Camera, Action
01:53

Memory of Eva Ryker, The

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Director Walter Grauman on Natalie Wood's fear of deep/dark waters while shooting the TV movie The Memory of Eva Ryker, one of her last projects
05:30

Murder, She Wrote

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Director Walter Grauman on working with Angela Lansbury on Murder, She Wrote
00:33
Director Walter Grauman on Angela Lansbury's knowledge of how she should be lit on Murder, She Wrote
00:57
Director Walter Grauman on ingratiating himself to star Angela Lansbury with various time-saving techniques (including having her use a teleprompter)
02:25
Director Walter Grauman describes a typical workday on Murder, She Wrote
01:25
Director Walter Grauman on how Angela Lansbury's appeal was the reason for the popularity of Murder, She Wrote
00:51

NBC Matinee Theater

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Director Walter Grauman on actress Sarah Churchill needing to get bailed out of jail to make her "live" appearance on Matinee Theater
03:20
Director Walter Grauman on working with boxer Primo Carnera on Matinee Theater: "Frankenstein" (airdate: 2/5/57), in which an overzealous and unrehearsed Carnera (playing Frankenstein's monster) threw an actor through the scenery
03:29
Director Walter Grauman on how a superstition led Sylvia Sidney to forget the final line on "live" TV for a Matinee Theater show [tentatively identified by Grauman as "Death of a Salesman" but possibly "The Gift and the Giver" (airdate: 12/16/57)]
01:29
Director Walter Grauman on a mishap that occurred to Constance Bennett minutes before a "live" TV production of Matinee Theater [likely "One Hundred Red Convertibles (airdate: 9/5/56), for which the credits match]
01:07
Director Walter Grauman briefly on Cameo Theatre and Matinee Theater creator/producer Albert McCleery
00:30

Naked City

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Director Walter Grauman on the Naked City episode "Hold for Gloria Christmas," recalling it for early appearances by Alan Alda and Jessica Walter, as well as for writer "Joel Carpenter" who he discovered was blacklisted Arnold Manoff's pseudonym
03:22

Peter Gunn

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Director Walter Grauman on a tricky lighting set up done by Russell Metty on the Peter Gunn episode "Edie Finds a Corpse" (that worked for the camera, but was hard on the actors due to the intense heat from the lighting)
01:03
Director Walter Grauman on how Blake Edwards (ironically) advised him not to make artistic compromises on Peter Gunn
00:58

Streets of San Francisco, The

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Director Walter Grauman on the production's move from L.A. to San Francisco to accommodate the extensive location shooting on The Streets of San Francisco
01:03
Director Walter Grauman on retaining a location when the owner came down with the flu, on the pilot of The Streets of San Francisco
02:15

Twilight Zone, The

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Director Walter Grauman relates the plot [SPOILERS] to The Twilight Zone episode "Miniature"
03:09
Director Walter Grauman on why The Twilight Zone episode "Miniature" wasn't shown on television for many years
00:52
Director Walter Grauman on shooting The Twilight Zone episode "Miniature"
01:02
Director Walter Grauman on showing Twilight Zone: "Miniature" to his future wife, who collected dollhouses
00:44

Untouchables, The

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Director Walter Grauman on hiring formerly blacklisted actor Jeff Corey on The Untouchables (and how Corey nearly lost the job)
01:20
Director-producer Walter Grauman on taking the job on The Untouchables, after being so impressed with the script for the episode "The Noise of Death"
01:11
Director-producer Walter Grauman relates the plot [SPOILERS] to The Untouchables episode "The Noise of Death," a particular favorite of his
08:21
Director-producer Walter Grauman on instructing the actors to stick to the script for The Untouchables episode "The Noise of Death," so impressed was he with the writing
00:36
Director-producer Walter Grauman on Robert Stack, and a memorable reaction he had to a piece of Grauman's direction, filming the Untouchables episode "Head of Fire, Feet of Clay"
01:39
Director-producer Walter Grauman on an intense explosion done on The Untouchables that scared his son, who was visiting the set
01:25
Director-producer Walter Grauman on finding a way to appease the censor in filming a massacre scene for The Untouchables episode "The White Slavers"
03:21
Director Walter Grauman on his visual style and acknowledging a quote in the book The Untouchables by Tise Vahimagi, which is as follows: "[in the episode "The Purple Gang"] the prominent use of peculiar angles and enforced shadows was perfectly in keeping with the TV style of regular Untouchables director Walter Grauman" (p. 81)
02:37

Untouchables, The: "The White Slavers"

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Director-producer Walter Grauman on finding a way to appease the censor in filming a massacre scene for The Untouchables episode "The White Slavers"
03:21
Topics

Bloopers

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Producer-director Walter Grauman on the flubs made by Lights, Camera, Action (1950) emcee Walter Woolf King on "live" TV 
01:24
Director Walter Grauman on working with boxer Primo Carnera on Matinee Theater: "Frankenstein" (airdate: 2/5/57), in which an overzealous and unrehearsed Carnera (playing Frankenstein's monster) threw a stuntman through the scenery
03:28
Director Walter Grauman on how a superstition led Sylvia Sidney to forget the final line on "live" TV for a Matinee Theater show [tentatively identified by Grauman as "Death of a Salesman" but possibly "The Gift and the Giver" (airdate: 12/16/57)]
01:23

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Director Walter Grauman on finding a way to appease the censor in filming a massacre scene for The Untouchables episode "The White Slavers"
03:21

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Director Walter Grauman on how Blake Edwards (ironically) advised him on not making artistic compromises on Peter Gunn
00:59

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Director Walter Grauman on hiring formerly blacklisted actor Jeff Corey on The Untouchables (and how Corey nearly lost the job)
03:23
Director Walter Grauman on the Naked City episode "Hold for Gloria Christmas," recalling it for early appearances by Alan Alda and Jessica Walter, as well as for "Joel Carpenter" who he discovered was blacklisted Arnold Manoff's pseudonym
03:22

Minorities

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Director Walter Grauman on losing his Asian extras at 4 PM, while shooting the TV movie The Forgotten Man
01:26
Professions

Directors

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Director Walter Grauman on the importance of camera movement to his directorial style
02:39
Genres

Drama Series

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Director Walter Grauman on his work on The Untouchables
22:49
People

Alan Alda

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Director Walter Grauman on the Naked City episode "Hold for Gloria Christmas," recalling it for early appearances by Alan Alda and Jessica Walter, as well as for writer "Joel Carpenter" who he discovered was blacklisted Arnold Manoff's pseudonym
03:22

Charles Bronson

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Director Walter Grauman on the indelible impression left on him by newcomer Charles Bronson during production of the Colt .45 episode "Young Gun" 
01:29

Primo Carnera

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Director Walter Grauman on working with boxer Primo Carnera on Matinee Theater: "Frankenstein" (airdate: 2/5/57), in which an overzealous and unrehearsed Carnera (playing Frankenstein's monster) threw a stuntman through the scenery
03:28

Sarah Churchill

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Director Walter Grauman on actress Sarah Churchill needing to get bailed out of jail to make her "live" appearance on Matinee Theater
02:59

Jeff Corey

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Director Walter Grauman on hiring formerly blacklisted actor Jeff Corey on The Untouchables (and how Corey nearly lost the job)
01:20

Buddy Ebsen

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Director Walter Grauman on working with Buddy Ebsen on Barnaby Jones
01:01
Director Walter Grauman on Buddy Ebsen's likability (comparing him to Angela Lansbury, who he worked with on Murder, She Wrote)
00:59

Blake Edwards

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Director Walter Grauman on how Blake Edwards (ironically) advised him not to make artistic compromises on Peter Gunn
00:59

Peter Falk

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Director Walter Grauman on how star Peter Falk invented the key clue for solving the crime on the Colombo show "Murder in Malibu"
00:51

David Janssen

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Director Walter Grauman on Fugitive star David Janssen
00:41

Walter Woolf King

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Producer-director Walter Grauman on the flubs made by Lights, Camera, Action (1950) emcee Walter Woolf King on "live" TV 
01:19

Angela Lansbury

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Director Walter Grauman on working with Angela Lansbury on Murder, She Wrote
00:33
Director Walter Grauman on Angela Lansbury's knowledge of how she should be lit on Murder, She Wrote
00:57
Director Walter Grauman on how Angela Lansbury's appeal was the reason for the popularity of Murder, She Wrote
00:51

Arnold Manoff

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Director Walter Grauman on the Naked City episode "Hold for Gloria Christmas," recalling it for early appearances by Alan Alda and Jessica Walter, as well as for writer "Joel Carpenter" who he discovered was blacklisted Arnold Manoff's pseudonym
03:22

Quinn Martin

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Director-producer Walter Grauman on executive producer Quinn Martin
01:31

Albert McCleery

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Director Walter Grauman briefly on Cameo Theatre and Matinee Theater creator/producer Albert McCleery
00:30

Russell Metty

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Director Walter Grauman on a tricky lighting set up done by Russell Metty on Peter Gunn (that worked for the camera, but was hard on the actors due to the intense heat from the lighting)
01:04

Sylvia Sidney

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Director Walter Grauman on how a superstition led Sylvia Sidney to forget the final line on "live" TV for a Matinee Theater show [tentatively identified by Grauman as "Death of a Salesman" but possibly "The Gift and the Giver" (airdate: 12/16/57)]
01:23

Robert Stack

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Director Walter Grauman on Robert Stack, and a memorable reaction he had to a piece of Grauman's direction, filming the Untouchables episode "Head of Fire, Feet of Clay"
01:40

Jessica Walter

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Director Walter Grauman on the Naked City episode "Hold for Gloria Christmas," recalling it for early appearances by Alan Alda and Jessica Walter, as well as for writer "Joel Carpenter" who he discovered was blacklisted Arnold Manoff's pseudonym
03:22

Natalie Wood

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Director Walter Grauman on Natalie Wood's fear of deep/dark waters while shooting the TV movie The Memory of Eva Ryker, one of her last projects
05:30

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